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Atkins offers an integrated approach to water, waste & environmental solutions. A client-focused structure enables us to augment and support cost-effective, quality-assured solutions and project delivery. Our expertise comprises: Acoustics Air quality Asset management Carbon trading & emissions Climate change Consents and authorisations Contaminated land solutions Data management Dams and reservoirs Due Diligence Ecology and environmental surveys Environmental assessment Environmental auditing Environmental management Environmental policy and strategy Flood management (flood risk, forecasting, warning & defence) Geospatial Geomorphology Health, safety and environment Heritage Hydrogeology Hydropower Schemes Noise and vibration Nuclear environmental services Regeneration Resource management Risk assessment and management River and coastal management Surface Water and drainage Sustainability Tunnelling & Pipelines Urban & Landscape Design Waste management & planning Water resource management Water quality Water & Wastewater treatment an


Miss Alison Crawford
Woodcote Grove
Ashley Road
KT18 5BW

Atkins develops model for sustainable level of water leakage

Atkins' multidisciplinary expertise in environmental economics, GIS and water resource management has provided Severn Trent Water with an innovative and robust valuation of the environmental and social costs and benefits relating to its Economic Level of Leakage (ELL).

The ELL is the level at which any further reduction in leakage would cost more than the benefits derived. The financial implications of the ELL for a water company can be significant, in terms of the costs of leakage repair work as well as those of obtaining water from existing and new resources.

There are also, however, a number of 'external' costs - and benefits - incurred by society and the environment relating to both leakage repair work and the effect of reducing leakage.

Ofwat and the Environment Agency require water companies to take account of these wider economic costs and benefits of leakage reduction activities in setting their ELL. A review is currently being undertaken of the 2002 'Tripartite Leakage Study' (due in June 2007). This is expected to result in guidance for water companies to calculate a 'sustainable level of leakage'.

Severn Trent Water asked Atkins to undertake an assessment of the environmental and social costs and benefits of leakage reduction for incorporation into their ELL model. Following a review of existing methods, Atkins devised an industry-leading approach which went beyond the requirements of the 2002 Tripartite guidance document. Valuation was carried out for the following principal social and environmental costs and benefits:

Social & environmental costs of leakage repair work

  • Delays to traffic and pedestrians - novel GIS techniques were employed to value the traffic disruption resulting from leakage repair jobs.

  • Carbon emissions from 'find and fix' vehicles - the costs to society of this contribution to global warming were estimated.

  • Social & environmental benefits of the effect of leakage reduction
  • The benefit to the water environment of reducing abstraction from Severn Trent Water's sources was calculated

  • Reduced carbon emissions from energy used for water treatment and distribution - the cost was calculated for the contribution to global warming resulting from energy taken from the National Grid.

  • The team can apply this knowledge and expertise to meet the additional requirements for valuation of social and environmental costs for ELL analysis, water resource and wastewater planning.

    Key Expert: Tom Wood, Environmental Consultant, ATKINS, Epsom, 01372 754262, tom.wood@atkinsglobal.com

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